Closing coal-fired plants saved more than 26,000 people—over the last decade

More than 330 coal-fired power plants stopped operating in the U.S. between 2005 and 2016, thanks in part due to aging facilities, growing renewables and a glut of cheap natural gas

A new study says the shift from coal to gas for electricity generation in the U.S saved at least 26,000 people from dying in 2005-16.

Lives were saved thanks to the reduction in harmful pollutants released by coal plants, which are known to cause health problems, such as heart disease and respiratory issues.

The study was completed by researchers at the University of California, San Diego and published in the journal Nature.

From 2005 to 2016, the period analyzed in the study, 334 coal-fired units were shut down, while 612 new natural gas-fired units came online across the U.S.

Coal has been losing ground to both natural gas and renewable forms of energy like wind and solar, despite efforts by the Trump administration to bolster the industry.

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